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05.02.2009 Health

Mills Slows Down NHIS

By Daily Guide
Mills Slows Down NHIS

Ras Boateng-NHIS Executive Director REPORTS REACHING DAILY GUIDE indicate that following President John Evans Atta Mills' promise of instituting a one-time premium for the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), registration for the health policy has slowed down considerably in Kumasi of late.

The reports also suggest that renewal of premiums by subscribers of the scheme had also gone down considerably in the Ashanti regional capital.

However, checks by DAILY GUIDE revealed that the free registration of pregnant women under the scheme was progressing.

The paper gathered that existing subscribers were refusing to renew their premiums whilst prospective members were declining to register under the scheme because of President Mills' promise of instituting a one-time premium.

“I'm a registered member but I'm yet to renew my premium because I'm waiting for President Mills to kick-start his one-time premium policy so that the burden of renewing my premium every year will be over,” one subscriber told DAILY GUIDE in an interview.

“I'm yet to register under the scheme but I won't do it until President Mills keeps to his promise of instituting a one-time premium for the scheme,” another resident said.

Then candidate Mills, during his campaigns, promised Ghanaians that when voted into office, his administration would institute a one-time premium for the NHIS to encourage more people to register under the scheme.

It is believed that the promise, which was highlighted in the ruling National Democratic Congress' (NDC's) manifesto, significantly contributed to the party's slim victory in the keenly contested elections.

Confirming the development in an interview with Angel FM in Kumasi, Mr. Isaac Asare, the scheme manger in charge of the Asokwa Sub-metro Mutual Health Insurance Scheme said the situation was seriously affecting the smooth running of the scheme.

“Unfortunately, when prospective members come to register they ask whether the one-time premium has started and when they are answered in the negative, they refuse to register, with the excuse that they're waiting for the introduction of the new policy,” he indicated.

He added that some existing subscribers are also refusing to renew their premium with the same excuse.

Mr. Asare indicated that the scheme risks suffering more setbacks should the Government fail to let the public know whether it could deliver on that promise or not and if it would, when exactly.

In an interview with the paper, Mr. Joseph Sarkodie, Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Subin Sub-Metro Mutual Health Insurance Scheme noted that the situation was not different at his outfit.

“The rate at which existing subscribers renew their premium is not encouraging at all.”

He advised people not to wait for the implementation of the one-time premium before renewing their registration, stressing that whether the promise is honoured or not, the NHIS has come to stay.

Mr. Ras Boateng, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) is reported to have given the assurance that his outfit was capable of implementing the one-time premium policy.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Health designate, Dr. George Sipa Yankey is also reported to have indicated that the Government can only take a decision on whether to implement the policy, in the next two years.

From Morgan Owusu, Kumasi